How to Elope in Glacier National Park

Updated: Nov 9, 2020

Kelly Kirksey Photography

How to Elope in Glacier National Park

There are so many gorgeous weddings that happen in the beautiful State of Montana every year. The backdrop that Glacier National Park provides is simply breathtaking! If you're wondering how to elope in Glacier National Park, simply follow these steps to ensure your big day is perfect!

Steps to Hosting Your Wedding in Glacier National Park:

  1. Choose your photographer.

  2. Pick your date, time and location.

  3. Apply for a Glacier National Park wedding permit.

  4. Hire your vendor team.

  5. Make your travel plans.

  6. Apply for your marriage license.

  7. Get married.

  8. Send out elopement announcements.

1. Choose your photographer.

Photo of Kelly Kirksey Photography doing her thing!

There are so many amazing photographers in the Flathead Valley offering so many shooting styles and price ranges. Please keep in mind their schedules can (and will) fill up very quickly, especially in the Summer, so it’s always best to book your photographer first. Look for someone whose work you love and that you're comfortable with. You must click with them as you’ll be spending a good portion of your day with them!

Here is a list of great photographers in the Valley.

Do you want to remember your day in motion? If so, now is also the time to hire a videographer. Likewise, the above applies to a videographer.

Here is a list of great videographers in the Valley.

Once you find your photographer and videographer, they will be able to give you their availability and then you can proceed to step #2. 

2. Pick your date, time and location.

Once you figure out your photographer (and videographer's) availability, check your calendar to see what dates would work. Narrow it down to three dates and three times. We will explain more about why this is important in a bit!

For a complete list of Glacier National Park wedding locations, click here. We also suggest narrowing it down to three locations just as you did for your dates and times.

Pro tip - Aim to start your ceremony 3 - 3.5 hours before sunset. This will allow for great lighting and plenty of time to explore the park afterwards for epic photos!

3. Apply for a Glacier National Park wedding permit.

Locking in a permit for a wedding in Glacier National Park is pretty simple, but it can take time. In saying that, please make sure you do it as soon as possible, but no earlier than 12 months before your wedding date. 

Remember how we suggested choosing three dates, times, and locations for your wedding? This is because you have the option to write in alternatives in the event your first choice is not available. You will list your first choice as your “Preferred Location” along with your preferred date and time. Below that is an area to write in “Alternate Date(s), Location(s), and Time(s).” This is where you will write in your second and third choices. The park always does their best to accommodate your preferred date, location, and time. However, in the event your preferred choices are not available, they will resort to your alternatives. 

Along with your application, the park requires a non-refundable processing fee of $100. This fee can be paid via check or credit card. 

The wedding permit application can be found by clicking here.


– It is very important to list your photographer (and videographer), along with their contact information on the permit application under “Proposed Activity.” The permit will also cover their services, so it’s important to note them.

– If you have any items such as tables or chairs, make sure to account for that on your application. For example, most locations have a one-hour maximum, so if you want a 6:00 pm ceremony, but you want a little time before the actual ceremony to get set up, we suggest putting 5:45 pm for “Set-Up Begins”, 6:00 pm for “Activity Begins”, 6:30 pm for “Activity Ends” and 6:45 pm for “Removal Completed.” However, not all locations allow things such as chairs, so please contact the park to confirm before submitting your application.

4. Hire your vendor team.

Katie Wilke Co.

Once your permit application is processed, you will receive your official permit with the date and time. Now you will be able to work on hiring your final vendors! These vendors can include your officiant, florist, baker, caterer, and hair and makeup artist. 

In Montana, pretty much anyone can perform a wedding ceremony. They do not have to be ordained. In the past, we have had a brother or sister of the couple officiate or a parent or even a friend. If you’re coming to Montana to elope and won’t have anyone traveling with you, hiring a wedding officiant is your best bet. There are so many amazing officiants in Montana who create beautiful ceremonies!

Best sure to check these wonderful people out:

Tom the “I Do” Officiate Joyful Matrimony by Kate Berry Coaching Sarah Harding

Up next, flowers! There are some very talented florists in the area that can create custom bouquets and boutonnieres for you. Here are a few of our favorite florists.

Flathead Farmworks Rose Mountain Floral Conrad Floral

Looking for something sweet to share after the ceremony? The Flathead Valley has some very talented bakers who can create just about anything for you!

Fleur Bake Shop Miss Patticakes Montana Wildflour

How often do you actually get to have your hair and makeup professionally done? So enjoy it and soak up every second of it! Here are a few of our favorite hair and makeup artists.

Melanie with 406 Hair Soucie Soucie Salon Haus Beauty Lounge

5. Make your travel plans.

It's time book your flight and hotel accommodations! Glacier Park International Airport is the ideal airport to fly into. However, there is also an international airport in Missoula which is about a 2.5-hour drive from Glacier. 

The Flathead Valley has so many wonderful places to stay from Airbnb rentals to lodges to full-service resorts. Here are a few of our favorite spots. 

Clear Sky Resorts Great Northern Resort Grouse Mountain Lodge Izaak Walton Inn North Forty Resort The Firebrand Hotel The Great Bear Inn The Lodge at Whitefish Lake Under Canvas West Glacier RV Park and Cabins

6. Apply for your marriage license.

Katie Wilke Co.

Getting your marriage license in Montana is super easy! To make things faster, be sure to apply for your license before you arrive in Montana. The marriage license application can be found here. Be sure to arrange your travel so you have one day, Monday-Friday, where you can go to the Clerk’s office in Kalispell to get your official license.

For more questions about obtaining your marriage license in Flathead County, click here.

7. Get married.

Carrie Ann Photography

The big day is here and you’re going to have so much fun! Soak up every second of the day and enjoy the time in Glacier taking epic photos, and most importantly, getting married! It’s such an exciting experience!

8. Send out elopement announcements.

Minted Elopement Announcement

Lastly, after you get your photos from your photographer, put together an announcement so you can tell everyone you eloped! If your photos won’t be ready for a few weeks, see if the photographer can send you some sneak peeks to use on your announcements. You can make beautiful announcements on Message us today for a 25% off coupon code!

Stress-free, all-inclusive elopement and intimate wedding packages designed for you!

Did you know we offer all-inclusive elopement packages? Yessss! We understand that planning a wedding no matter the size, can take lots of time, energy and be very stressful. Because of this, our all-inclusive elopement packages were created! The packages include a photographer, proper permitting for a Glacier National Park wedding ceremony, an officiant, floral and hair and makeup services! There are even options to add on a small cake and champagne toast. Let us tackle all of the little details for you, so all you have to do is get to Montana, grab your marriage license, and get married!

If you’re interested in learning more about our all-inclusive elopement packages, click here for more information.

We are so excited that you are considering getting married in the beautiful State of Montana! We hope that this information was very helpful in figuring out how to elope in Glacier National Park. Have questions? Please do not hesitate to reach out! We are always happy to help however we can.

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Monday: 10am - 6pm

Tuesday: 10am - 6pm

Wednesday: 10am - 6pm

Thursday: 10am-6pm

Friday: 10am - 6pm

Saturday: Closed



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